#SolarImpulse flies again, from Japan to Hawaii – an annotated infographic

June 30, 2015

As Great Britain basks in glorious sunshine, our summer having finally got its act together for a few consecutive days at least, it seems an apposite time to hear once again about the solar-powered plane attempting to circumnavigate the globe, powered by nothing more than the warming, energising rays of our distant but radiant star friend, the Sun.

After waiting for two months in Japan for a break in the weather, for that meteorological metaphorical window of opportunity to slide open, Solar Impulse 2 has begun its journey from Japan to Hawaii – a scorching, high-altitude trip that will take an estimated five days.

If successful, it will be the longest-duration solo flight in aviation history and the furthest distance flown by a plane powered solely by the sun.

E&T news reported on Solar Impulse 2‘s latest adventures yesterday.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Hello, sunshine

Hello, sunshine

Tennis court playing surfaces vs. playing styles, ahead of #Wimbledon2015 – an annotated infographic

June 26, 2015

As the champagne is chilled, the strawberries de-punneted and the cream lightly whipped, so the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon prepares for its annual fortnight of ball-bashing, net-thwacking and patriotic flag-waving.

Most professional tennis players favour one of the three surfaces – grass, clay or hardcourt – and their success has much to do with individual playing style and how the ball reacts to the surface. Wimbledon is, naturally, all grass, so it’s a fast and low fortnight ahead of the assembled athletes.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Tennis court infographic

Tennis court infographic

E&T news weekly #56 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

June 26, 2015

Friday June 26 2015

Alex Kalinaukas  Alex Kalinauckas, assistant features editor
‘Overalls’ image still persists, say female engineers

Three high-profile female motorsport engineers have called for a change to the image of the industry so people don’t think of overalls when discussing engineering. If this perception changed, they also reckoned it would attract more women to a career in the industry. More amusing was their total destruction of Bernie Ecclestone’s “all-female Formula 1” idea – and rightly so, the whole concept was ridiculous.

London’s infrastructure lags behind world’s major cities

Never has a headline been more true. Barely a day goes by when “signal failure” doesn’t hold up thousands of commuters – surely a failure-proof signal isn’t too much to ask for in 2015? Of course it is, this is London after all. I love my home city but the infrastructure is woeful and with the population ever expanding something needs to be done. The idea of selling advertising to fund investment in the Tube network is a good one – if having Oxford Circus renamed as ‘Generic Multinational Company presents Oxford Circus’ means the Central Line will run on time, I doubt anyone will complain. Oh, but of course they will, again, this is London after all.

dominic-lenton  Dominic Lenton, managing editor
Engineering still seen as a ‘boys’ job’

One of the things that prompted lively debate in the E&T office this week was the number of press releases from companies showing their support for National Women in Engineering Day that were accompanied by photos of female staff in boiler suits and hard hats defying the gender divide. One national women’s magazine profiled a British Gas engineer who services domestic central heating, alongside an apprentice at another company who’s embarking on a job in the sector having done A levels in PE and photography. We know from the number of letters we receive that many E&T readers would frown on describing these roles as ‘engineering’, but is it really a bad thing if it helps to attract more women into related careers? Isn’t the issue more that they should be made aware that plenty of careers in the sector don’t involve going anywhere near a high-visibility jacket and workboots?

Door handle powered by UV light kills germs

How often do you wash your hands thoroughly after using a public toilet, maybe slap on some anti-bacterial gel, then become acutely aware as you leave that the person before you probably didn’t do the same before grabbing the door handle? Even if it’s just me, this self-sterilising handle invented by a pair of Hong Kong teenagers looks like an excellent idea. The motion of the door opening and closing powers a UV light that activates a germ-killing titanium dioxide coating. The flash as you grab it might come as a shock at first, but it’s keeping your clean hands pristine for just a few minutes longer.

Lorna Sharpe  Lorna Sharpe, sub-editor
Sound map launched for UK’s coastline

People around Britain are invited to record the sounds of the coastline so they can be preserved for posterity. The National Trust and the British Library are behind the project to create the crowd-sourced audio map. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

‘Air-traffic control’ for freight deliveries tested in Canary Wharf

Tech start-up Voyage Control has come up with a system for managing freight deliveries at busy locations. It’s being tested in London’s Canary Wharf business district and is expected to help companies manage flows at their loading bays as well as saving time for drivers and cutting road congestion. It could also work well at exhibition venues.

Vitali Vitaliev  Vitali Vitaliev, features editor
Top 10 tech toys predicted for Christmas 2015

Spare a thought for small children of today, dear reader. Having read Hamleys’ list of what the landmark London retailer expects to be the top ten most popular toys for next Christmas (I can’t believe it’s coming close, I’ve only just finished tidying up after the last one!) I sincerely pity them. I will try to explain why. All those intelligent toy robots and 3D makers, to say nothing of the mysterious ‘kinetic sand’, leave very little space for developing the kids’ most important asset – imagination, which, if we believe Albert Einstein, is more important than knowledge. I may be sounding like an old fogey, but I do think that the simple toys of yesteryear (rag dolls, simple toy cars, tattered and often one-eyed – yet cherished – teddy bears) did more for the kids’ budding emotional intelligence than toy robots, no matter how intelligent and ‘kinetic’, can ever hope to do. Yes, a kid can certainly interact with a robot on an intellectual level, so to speak, but I doubt very much if he or she can actually get as emotionally attached to it, as I was to a little toy yellow truck which – to me – embodied all the magic of movement and travel. I still remember it with nostalgia, just like my primitive and rusty toy petrol station (I used to cut my fingers at the toy’s sharp edges but still loved it) and a couple of other basic mechanical toys of my childhood (we didn’t have many) that first evoked my interest in technology. You know what my preferred toy from Hamleys’ 2015 Christmas top ten list would be? The Shopkins ‘Scoops’ ice cream truck playset, of course! I would be happy to start playing with it straight away, and don’t hurry to accuse me of being infantile. Like most artists and engineers (or so I reckon), I am simply one of the proverbial boys and girls refusing to grow up.

Dickon Ross  Dickon Ross, editor in chief
‘Overalls’ image still persists, say female engineers / Prince Charles befriends robot at celebration for women engineers

The campaign for women in engineering, National Women in Engineering Day, has really taken off since it was launched by Women in Engineering Society a few years ago. The tag #NWED was trending fifth in the world at one point on Tuesday (excluding promoted tags) and even Prince Charles got in on the day’s events.

Sound map launched for UK’s coastline

Everyone takes pictures and videos to remember special occasions, but audio recordings of quite everyday things may well be more fascinating to future generations. Imagine a Victorian beach of a hundred years ago: children playing, bands playing perhaps, a Punch and Judy show perhaps. Now there’s a crowd-sourced project to record the soundscapes of today’s coastline: maybe fish and chip shops, seafood restaurants, amusement arcades and children building sandcastles still. Plus, an awful lot of waves lapping on beaches I suspect.

Jonathan Wilson  Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor
Online app-only bank gets green light in the UK

This would have been unfathomable even five years ago, a business model doomed to failure from the off: an online only bank that works entirely via apps on a smartphone. No high-street branches, no banking by mail, not even a website. When it launches later this year, Atom Bank will become the ultra-modern face of banking, a poster child for what is now possible in a digital world. As a barometer of the general public’s acceptance of the smartphone as the centre of our world, this could represent a new high-water mark.

Cows now easier to track with wearable tech collars

Wearable technology has been tagged as the Next Big Thing for the near future, but one area we’ve not heard so much about is its deployment in the farming environment. Naturally, there is no reason at all why the same technology principles that can track our health and activity via GPS on a smartwatch should not also be applied to tracking dairy herds of Friesan cows, so the announcement this week of a new neck collar for cattle seems entirely logical.

#BTPT #Bizarre theories and pointless #technologies: #smart #bikini, kettle, bottle and #plate

June 24, 2015

By Rebecca Northfield

Have you been planning your latest getaway this year to escape from the unpredictable British weather and embrace the sun, sun and more sun of exotic locations?

Well, the brains of the world have come up with some ‘smart’ technologies that will help you through the torture of your summer vacay.

Spinali Design bikini

You’re half naked on the beach and the sun is beaming down onto your skin. Your bikini is covering your modesty whilst you sunbathe, swim and generally frolic around. I’m assuming you are a woman – or a man, I’m very open – and you can’t remember the last time you put your sun lotion on. This is where the Spinali Design bikini comes in. What a miracle to beachgoers.

Check out these bikini's from the 1900s, hardly any sun cream needed!

Check out these bikini’s from the 1900s, hardly any sun cream needed!

A smart UV sensor registers when you need to slap on some more sun lotion or when to move out of the harmful rays depending on your skin type. The information is sent to an app on your phone so you’re alerted. Not that you’d know that applying sun lotion regularly in sunny conditions is recommended by pretty much everyone.

I really need this useful invention, otherwise I’m just going to lie in the midday sun with no protection whatsoever and let the rays burn me to a crisp.

Have a look if you want to invest around £110 on a piece of material: www.spinali-design.com

HidrateMe water bottle

Another thing to keep in mind when exposed to the sun: hydration. When it gets warmer, you need to drink more fluids. Simple. You listen to your body. When you’re thirsty, have a drink. Plus, we’ve been told so many times that two and a half to three litres of water a day is recommended for the average adult. We’re made of 50 to 75 per cent water anyway, so it makes sense to drink quite a bit to give us that dewy glow.

HidrateMe is smart water bottle funded by the Kickstarter campaign. It tracks how much you drink and glows when you need to drink more. There’s also an app that tracks your location and adjusts the water consumption according to conditions. Great, thank you for the glowing, annoying reminder.

I think I need to lie down.

The classic disposable water bottle

The classic disposable water bottle

It’s all about being a sensible human being. You don’t need me to tell you that.

If you want to introduce more fluids into your lifestyle, you make a conscientious effort. You don’t start giving into gimmicks and spending money on something you can do for free.

Visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/582920317/hidrateme-smart-water-bottle if you want to donate to this worthy cause. Please help the hopeless.

iKettle

More on hydration, the iKettle is pretty much what it says on the tin. You use an app on your phone to turn the smart kettle on. It’s WiFi enabled and allows you to get on with other things, rather than switching on the kettle when you fancy a cuppa.

You know, because it takes such an effort to walk to the kitchen and use your finger to turn the kettle on. So. Much. Effort.

A nice cuppa! Not from a smart kettle

A nice cuppa! Not from a smart kettle

Wait! What if you’re in the garden and want to spend those few precious moments basking in the sun in your Spinali bikini? What if you’ve just got home, but you’re not out of your car, so you need to get your phone and activate the app and tell it to turn the kettle on for a brew. It’s so timesaving; I don’t know why it wasn’t thought of earlier. Probably because people weren’t so bone idle.

Check out the £100 kettle here: www.johnlewis.com/ikettle-wi-fi-kettle-silver/p1725746

SmartPlate

As you buy your lazy-boy kettle, you should invest in a SmartPlate while you’re at it. I bet you can guess what it’s about.

That’s right. It analyses your food for you so you don’t have to.

The plate uses weight sensors and cameras and utilises the companion app on your phone to study your food. The plate breaks down the items by calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sodium.

Right, okay. I’d rather not be nagged by my crockery.

If you’re making an effort to be healthier, then you’d work out your intakes by yourself, like you traditionally do.

It’s just a gimmick and a lazy way to be healthier.

It's all about moderation.

It’s all about moderation.

If someone needs a SmartPlate to control their food intake, then they would probably find a way to cheat it. Like having plates on the side.

It’s another thing that will make money because people are always ‘trying’ to be healthier. I expect a boom in sales in the New Year.

Buy your own ridiculous kitchen item: http://getsmartplate.com/

 

 

 

E&T news weekly #55 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

June 19, 2015

Friday June 19 2015

dominic-lenton  Dominic Lenton, managing editor
Elderly to get screening technology to block nuisance calls

Older people aren’t idiots, but even if they’re canny enough to hang up on phone calls trying to sell them things they don’t want or need the sheer persistence of some callers can be distressing in itself. Many won’t take the fact that their victim can’t even afford what they’re offering as an excuse, so it’s helpful that the government is looking at providing the most vulnerable households with free devices that block unwanted calls. Yes, a lot of modern phones come with this feature built-in, but how easy is it to set up? One addition that would make them even better – the ability to log the caller’s number even if they’ve hidden it, then ring them back at regular intervals throughout the day and night to see how they like it.

Mobile phone usage shows when people are unemployed

One the face of it, the results of research by MIT data scientists are hardly surprising: the number and destination of phone calls a person makes changes significantly when they’re made redundant. Among other patterns, months after being laid off from a factory in Europe, ex-staff were making half as many calls as former colleagues. That looks self-evident, but where it could be useful is in reversing the process to identify from phone records areas that are hardest hit by unemployment rather than waiting weeks for official figures to be recorded. Is the inevitable next step an app that warns you based on your mobile use just before you’re about to get fired?

Rebecca Northfield  Rebecca Northfield, assistant features editor
Whale tail-powered ships harness wave energy

Ships may soon be joining the eco-friendly movement, and it’s all thanks to the biggest mammals on earth – the whale. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science looked into the tail of the whale and how it propels them through the water. The researchers then designed their own and this artificial tail was attached to the front of a 1:16.57 scale model ship to see how effective it was. The waves moved the fins up and down, and the shape exploited the energy from the waves to help the ship move. If all goes according to plan, this product would reduce fuel consumption as ships would use the power of the sea. For the team, the long-term goal at the moment is for small boats to embrace wave power without using motors, which would be awesome. I’m always happy to see nature inspiring good things for our planet. And if this helps the whales in the long-run by helping our planet, I’m happy. I love whales. They’re so big and cuddly.

Squid-inspired ‘skin’ to make camouflage materials smart

Researchers from Bristol University have come up with a smart materials system to mimic the mighty squid’s skin. The prototype artificial skin means the advancing of smart materials. The ‘skin’ system is similar to natural chromatophores, the cells which change the colours of squid skin, which help them to hide from predators. The researchers hope that one day the skin can ‘mimic fast-acting active camouflage’, which would be very useful for search and rescue operations, or hiding from people at work that you really don’t want to talk to. I joke.

Jonathan Wilson  Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor
Smelly maps reveal odour footprint of cities

Nothing like as unpleasant as it sounds, these are actually maps designed to show you around a city via more enjoyable routes. It’s all about getting off the well-trodden, traffic-choked path and enjoying a more scenic, occasionally fragrant, route from A to B. Such diverting diversions typically add only a couple of minutes to a journey, so there’s little reason not to explore more.

Digital Magna Carta Top 10 rights revealed

As you might expect, the current number one clause – as voted for by 30,000 members of the public – is: “Not let companies pay to control it [the web] and not let governments restrict our right to information”, which was written by students aged 12. Hard to argue with that, even as it happens ever more each day.

Alex Kalinaukas  Alex Kalinauckas, assistant features editor
Digital Magna Carta Top 10 rights revealed

It was a great idea to mark the 800th anniversary of King John signing the Magna Carta and the 25th anniversary of the world wide web with a list of the top 10 clauses the public would like to see online in the digital age. 10 might be a stretch, though, as three of the clauses have been repeated at least three times with slightly different wording. Still, they got the first one “The Web we want will not let companies pay to control it, and not let governments restrict our right to information” as the most important and that’s what counts – let’s see if the politicians will listen.

Whale tail-powered ships harness wave energy

How ironic: the Norwegians gaining inspiration from whale fins to create device that can harness the power of the waves to reduce fuel consumption. Perhaps it’s the many whale fins they’ve got piled up after the hunting season – who knows?

Tereza Pultarova  Tereza Pultarova, news reporter
Virtual reality floor unleashes Oculus Rift in Milton Keynes

Trying the Oculus Rift headset on Omnifinity’s Omnideck virtual reality floor was almost like stepping into the Matrix movie. In a few seconds I completely forgot there was another – real world – around. The floor enables you to move in the virtual environment as if you were completely unconstrained. It is certainly a powerful tool but I found it also a bit frightening. Just imagine the future where everyone is locked up in his own virtual world. What will that do with our ability to enjoy real life?

Thousands of apps leave data exposed to hackers

Oops … that doesn’t sound like good news, does it? Maybe it’s time either for developers to start taking this seriously of for user to say NO to apps that ask for too many permissions and don’t even know how to protect the data.

Lorna Sharpe  Lorna Sharpe, sub-editor
Toy car powered by evaporating water engine

Scientists at New York’s Columbia University have hit on the idea of exploiting humidity-driven changes in the size of bacterial spores to extract useful amounts of energy – and they have built two different machines to demonstrate the point. Talk of producing devices comparable in output to wind turbines is probably a bit premature, but it sounds like an interesting idea and worth exploring further.

Whale tail-powered ships harness wave energy

Norwegian researchers have also taken inspiration from the world of biology in a bid to find new sources of energy, but the NTNU team members are working on a larger scale. They have fitted a device resembling a whale’s tail to a model ship and used it to exploit wave energy for propulsion, reducing fuel costs. As a bonus, the structure has reduced heaving and pitching.

Laura Onita  Laura Onita, news reporter
Toy car powered by evaporating water engine

A powerful yet invisible force pulls water from the earth to the top of the tallest trees and beyond, but water evaporation’s potential to propel self-sufficient devices or produce electricity has remained largely untapped – until now. A group of scientists from Columbia University have created machines that harness the power of evaporating water: a floating, piston-driven engine that generates electricity to make a light flash and a rotary engine that drives a toy car. The miniature car rolls on its own powered just by evaporation, and researchers hope that in the future engines will use the process to propel a real car, which would require neither fuel nor electricity to work.

Smelly maps reveal odour footprint of cities

I was on a night stroll the other week and as we were walking my friend kept identifying different smells: lamorna in the air, from the trees in bloom, and petrichor, the smell of wet tarmac that comes with the first rain after a long period of warm. I was pleased to read this week that researchers created smell maps of European cities to help city dwellers choose their paths or places based on odours they would enjoy or prefer to avoid. Now I’m just waiting for the app!

Vitali Vitaliev  Vitali Vitaliev, features editor
Pepper the robot with a ‘heart’ goes on sale in Japan

Well, here we go – a robot with emotions. Ave, Ava! And while I personally have nothing against a robot having a heart (as long as that heart is healthy), I was saddened to learn that he (she? It? I mean the robot) will be prone to fits of depression, too. Now, this is cruel and brings back memories of the poor Vogons from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. I was always of the opinion that depression is a purely human condition and although one can sometimes hear about the seemingly depressed pets (dogs, pigs, goldfish and cats, in particular), there’s nothing sadder than a machine, which (who?) feels down, even if it (she? he?) is cheerfully called Pepper. Isn’t it time to introduce the Fourth Law of Robotics (see our robotics special issue of E&T magazine) that would read approximately like this: “A robot may not feel depressed, fed up or cheesed off, leaving these questionable prerogatives to humans”?

Aasha Bodhani  Aasha Bodhani, industry features editor
Pepper the robot with a ‘heart’ goes on sale in Japan

Channel 4’s new TV series, Humans, which explores the emotional impact between humans and robots, with the latter looking like real-life humans, could possibly be a prediction of what is to come. Softbank, a technology company in Japan, is half way there as it has created a robot, Pepper, with a heart. Despite having no legs, it is designed to identify human emotions, such as anger and joy. Would you have Pepper in your home?

Digital road signs get mobile phone real-time updates in Denmark

Denmark, renown for being a smart city, has taken it a step further by digitising its road signs. The plan is to cut down delays in traffic and alert drivers of any accidents and advise them to use alternative routes. The road signs receive traffic data from 125 sensors places on roads which are typically known for congestions, these sensors are connected to the driver’s headsets and mobile, via a Bluetooth connection.

#Robots get some love in the new issue of E&T magazine – now available online

June 17, 2015

Robots are the stars of the new issue of E&T magazine.

Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics; how to persuade humans to love our new robot overlords; how to program robots to understand human emotions; the robot hotel where the staff are genuinely happy to help; Australia’s field robotics research; and a nice photo gallery of all the latest robots.

Yeah, we really went big on robots this time around.

Check out the robots special issue online now.

Robots'R'Us

Robots’R’Us

Why real robots will never look like the Synths in #Humans

June 16, 2015

 

Uncanny valley graph with sci-fi robots on it

Graphic from this month’s issue

 

Humans can emphathise with robots up to a point where they become too human, when they are seen as creepy and revolting. Empathy rises again as they become indistinguishable from real people. This dip is called the ‘uncanny valley’. When I came to plot screen robots on the humanlike/familiarity graph above I noticed the good robots are mostly to the left of the uncanny valley while all the robots in uncanny valley are bad. The Synthetics from Channel 4’s Humans are deep in uncanny valley. Maybe we can just do without robots that look too human.

Read more about our special future robots issue in my Editor’s Letter

Dickon Ross

E&T Editor-in-Chief

#Twitter CEO Dick Costolo gets that #FridayFeeling – an annotated infographic

June 12, 2015

Dick Costolo is stepping down as chief executive of Twitter, the company has announced, with co-founder Jack Dorsey taking his place as interim CEO. Costolo has failed to stem the messaging platform’s waning user growth.

Despite revenue of $1.4 billion last year, Twitter hasn’t made a profit since its stock market debut in 2013.

E&T news reported the story of Dick Costolo leaving Twitter in full earlier today.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Goodnight, Dick

Goodnight, Dick

E&T news weekly #54 – we choose our favourite engineering and technology news stories from the week

June 12, 2015

Friday June 12 2015

Jonathan Wilson  Jonathan Wilson, online managing editor
Magna Carta ‘digital rights’ open to public vote

Safety on the internet, freedom of speech and protecting privacy are the top three recommendations of young people around the world for a mooted ‘digital rights’ Magna Carta. Long championed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the idea of an internet Magna Carta goes to the heart of the original ethos of the internet, making the worldwide web a safer and more democratic place for all. We, the public, can vote now on the 500-strong list of digital rights candidates and the top 10 choices will be revealed on Monday June 15.

Finland could abandon fossil fuels entirely by 2050

Trust one of Europe’s smallest, darkest and coldest countries to lead the way in a permanent move away from fossil fuels. It may still be 35 years away, but the idea that all of Finland’s domestic energy needs could be supplied by solar and wind power could become a reality within the lifetime of many of us.

Tereza Pultarova  Tereza Pultarova, news reporter
Finland could abandon fossil fuels entirely by 2050

One brilliant proposal by researchers from the Scandinavian country known for its progressive attitude towards sustainability. Please, go ahead Finland and show the world that it indeed can be done. If Finland can get enough solar power to wean its energy system off fossil fuels, it must be simple for others in more favourable climates.

Royal Navy to use drones to inspect warships

Everyone’s into drones these days.

dominic-lenton  Dominic Lenton, managing editor
Ofcom to make it easier to quit slow broadband providers

Am I the only person in Britain who’s perfectly happy with their broadband provider? I won’t name them, but the only trouble they’ve given me in the past year was when I was putting up a new fence in the front garden and had to do a bit of extra digging to get around the tube that brings the cable from the pavement junction box to the house. For those of you who aren’t so fortunate, Ofcom is going to make it easier to bail out of a contract that doesn’t deliver what was promised. If you’re not familiar with MGALS, or minimum guaranteed access line speed, check it out now in the small print and see how it compares with the service you’re getting.

Origami-inspired paper battery for developing world

Reading this story I had to check that my childhood memory of a 1970s TV programme which simply involved ten minutes of expert paper folding wasn’t something I’d imagined. Turns out it really happened, and it’s hard to mock when I spent a similar amount of time recently watching a YouTube tutorial on how to clean vinyl records by applying a thin layer of wood glue. (Check it out – there are several and they’re all compelling.) A lot more practical is this technique for generating power from bacteria using a cunningly folded piece of card. About the size of a matchbook and costing only a few pence to manufacture, the batteries could power diagnostic devices in developing countries with limited access to sophisticated tools.

Katia Moskvitch  Katia Moskvitch, technology editor
Black box technology shines light on shark behaviour

Better not to swim at dusk if you know that sharks might be around. Scientists at the University of St Andrews in Scotland have used ‘black box’ technology similar to that used on planes to shed light on when sharks are most likely to forage – and why. Turns out that they prefer to feed in the early evening, thanks to their good night vision. This way, hunting at night may allow them not to be harmed too much by their prey fighting back. So how did ‘black box’ tech help? Simple – like many of us nowadays wear fitness bracelets, several reef sharks at a remote Pacific atoll were fitted with tags that measured activity, swim speed, depth, body temperature and digestion. The researchers then just had to get the tags back and study the data.

Alex Kalinaukas  Alex Kalinauckas, assistant features editor
Formula E battery tech delayed by high R&D costs

There had been rumours circulating that Formula E was going to postpone opening up its battery regulations, which were previously set to allow teams to design their own systems from 2016, and Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag confirmed to E&T that this would indeed be the case. He said the high R&D costs were the primary reason for the decision but also that the technology had not quite developed far enough to justify the teams spending so much cash when the sport is still in its infancy. Formula E has done lots to promote electric vehicles and it’s important that it focuses on surviving long enough to continue that good work – after all, plenty of other ‘new’ motorsport series have died off after a few seasons, let alone ones that are trying to change the way we use our cars and promote sustainable living.

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project granted planning permission

When it’s not under a constant deluge of freezing rain, Swansea Bay is a beautiful place – I lived there for three years so I’m qualified to make a sweeping generalisation or two… Therefore, the idea of building a 6km seawall designed to harness the power of the waves that will also allow people to walk out into the bay and bask in the (rare) sunshine is great idea in my book. Six more of these lagoon power plants are being planned for elsewhere in Wales and England but why stop there? We are an island nation after all; let’s make as much use of our renewable natural resources as we can.

Dickon Ross  Dickon Ross, editor in chief
Andy Murray enters crowdfunding arena in Seedrs deal

World tennis star Andy Murray has joined crowdfunding site Seedrs to advise and invest in new business ideas in the areas of health, sport and wearables technologies?

Finland could abandon fossil fuels entirely by 2050

Renewables are usually seen as part of a future energy mix but Norway reckons it could all be done with solar, wind, biofuels and hydropower.

G7 leaders vow to abandon fossil fuels by mid century

And G7 leaders commit to moving away from fossil fuels entirely by the middle of this century.

Vitali Vitaliev  Vitali Vitaliev, general features editor
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey

For a number of reasons, I don’t do Twitter (or any other types of private social networking, for that matter), but am nevertheless familiar with the rules. I took time to count the letters in “Twitter CEO Dick Costolo replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey” and discovered that it is 88 characters short of Twitter’s limit of 140. So, if I were to tweet that headline, I would probably add the following: “As the firm counts its losses of $162 million and sees a 30 percent decline in its share price, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey”. 129 characters – still not enough. Here are 11 more to end it all on an optimistic note: “As the firm counts its losses of $162 million and sees a 30 percent decline in its share price, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey. Happy tweets” Sorry, one character short of an exclamation mark…

#AppleMusic streaming service – details announced – an annotated infographic

June 10, 2015

Apple has unveiled its Apple Music streaming service, designed to challenge rivals such as Spotify, Deezer, Soundcloud, Google and Amazon.

The $10-a-month service combines on-demand listening; Beats 1, a 24/7 radio station hosted by live DJs; and Connect, a forum for artists to give fans behind-the-scenes content from upcoming releases.

E&T news covered this Apple Music announcement in comprehensive detail yesterday.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Apple Music: like music, only more expensive

Apple Music: like music, only more expensive


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